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    Good piece in the NY Times: No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore

    The ambitious Mr. Johnson was crucial to the victory of Brexit in the June 2016 referendum. But for many, the blusterings of Boris have lost their charm. The “great ship” he loves to cite is a nationalist fantasy, a remnant of Britain’s persistent post-imperial confusion about its proper place in the world, hanging on to expensive symbols like a nuclear deterrent while its once glorious navy is often incapable of patrolling its own coastline*.

    Britain — renowned for its pragmatism, its common sense, its political stability and its unabashed devotion to small business (“a nation of shopkeepers”) — has become nearly unrecognizable to its European allies.


    [*With a link to this Independent article informing us that, to patrol its 7,723 mile-long coastline, the UK has a grand total of… 3 vessels, with a Border Force ridiculously understaffed and under-resourced at airports, ports, in immigration services etc. and woefully inadequate to deal with illegal immigration/immigrants – predominantly people/students who overstay their visas – who number over 1 million people according to recent internal Home Office documentation. A lot of this is a consequence of the dramatic cuts, poor outsourcings, mismanagement of resources etc. that we've seen over the last three decades, a reality highlighted in the excellent book "Dismembered: How the Attack on the State Harms Us All" that I presented in this post.]

    Comment


      Originally posted by Kev7 View Post
      predominantly people/students who overstay their visas – who number over 1 million people according to recent internal Home Office documentation
      Or, maybe, 4,600 people.

      Comment


        I know it's for an overseas audience but cliched nonsense like this irks me greatly:
        Britain — renowned for its pragmatism, its common sense, its political stability and its unabashed devotion to small business (“a nation of shopkeepers”)
        It feeds into this dishonest narrative that Britain used to be the Honest Gentlemen Of The World that has only recently suddenly Gone A Bit Mad. Whereas we've been on this path for a long long time.

        Comment


          Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
          Hold on to your sides because they might just split. I give you Martin Vickers, "Eurosceptic" Tory MP for Cleethorpes.

          Here he is two weeks ago, worried about Theresa May not having strong enough "red lines".

          http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/ne...seafood-736984

          And here he is today, meeting food processors who are worrying about the shit hitting the fan and casting around for improbable solutions like "freeports".

          http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/ne...seafood-736984

          Is he worried? Does he think those "red lines" might need a bit of flexibility after all? Nah.

          Or indeed the clusterfuck that looks more likely right now.
          Brexit exemption sought for Grimsby seafood trade… Oh dear, that’s a funny one.

          There is an inordinate number of Brexiters and politicians who seem to be convinced that the UK will still get plenty of opt-outs, exemptions, special concessions, rebates, freebies, Touquet border treaty type of favours and what-have-yous, just like they do now as the EU has bent over backwards since Margaret "I want my money back" Thatcher to accommodate the UK’s many "special needs".

          Talked to a manager working in the hospitality & catering business in the Lake District last year (a huge employer of EU nationals, about 40% of the Lakes’ workforce in that sector) and he was adamant that the UK would be able to secure some sort of special deal in that particular industry, "The EU will have to be flexible" he kept saying. That was over a year ago, he may not still feel the same along with many Brexiters (the Brexit mood’s not terribly upbeat) but obviously many brexiting politicians are still banging the delusional drums of British exceptionalism.

          Comment


            Originally posted by E10 Rifle View Post
            I know it's for an overseas audience but cliched nonsense like this irks me greatly:


            It feeds into this dishonest narrative that Britain used to be the Honest Gentlemen Of The World that has only recently suddenly Gone A Bit Mad. Whereas we've been on this path for a long long time.
            The stuff about how Britain was open and generous as shown in the 2012 Olympics when disabled people were killing themselves because of the bedroom tax was a bit rich.

            Comment


              I think IDS's new law hadn't kicked in by 2012, but yeah, things were bad enough already.

              Comment


                Isn't it just, Kev?

                How many exceptions are we up to now? The City, fisheries, tourism, cars, farming?

                Add to all the industries who apparently want automatic work visas. Construction, hospitality, farming...

                What a farce.

                Comment


                  We'll be leaving the EU to join a new pact, called the EUUK. We've printed the Queen's head on all the euros.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
                    Hold on to your sides because they might just split. I give you Martin Vickers, "Eurosceptic" Tory MP for Cleethorpes.
                    There are indeed a fair number of talented comedians in parliament. Round my way in the North East, there’s the Conservative Guy Opperman (Hexham constituency).

                    Last night on Inside Out North East & Cumbria, here on the Beeb's iplayer) there was a feature on the WASPI women (Women Against State Pension Inequality), who’ve been properly shafted re the new pension system (born after April 1953 and the Tories hiked their state pension age to make it 66 by 2020, the same as for men). Many of them stand to lose ~£50,000 (they only got short notice of the impending changes, the communication from the Department for Work and Pensions was poor and consequently they could not make contingency plans at all; programme showed a woman having to sell her house to fund the shortfall).

                    But thankfully our Guy has come up with a very practical solution to solve the problem: to do an apprenticeship.

                    Fury as Guy Opperman says women in their 60s should get apprenticeship after pensions are delayed

                    (Incidentally, state pension age very likely to be 71-72 for the current twenty-somethings! As will be the public sector pension age too as both pension ages are to be aligned if I’m not mistaken, meaning, for instance, that an NHS nurse, or a police officer, teacher etc. starting now will have to work 50 years solid to get his/her state and occupational pensions.)

                    Comment


                      One WASPI woman sent Opperman this letter below...

                      Pensions minister Guy Opperman last week suggested that millions of women in their 60s facing cuts to their state pension could take up apprenticeships as a route to re-employment. Opperman highlighted “extended apprenticeship opportunities” to get older people into work.

                      Here in an open letter, Susan Forsyth – 63 and unemployed – writes to the pension minister seeking work.

                      Dear Mr Opperman,

                      I am a 63-year-old female, and am unemployed at the moment. I would very much like to take up one of the apprenticeships which you kindly offered in your speech recently. I have always loved flying and wonder if you have any apprenticeships available which will teach me how to fly a plane. I have worked as a secretary in an airline maintenance center (the place where planes come for check-ups and repair) so feel that I could be half-way there? I have, additionally, flown gliders in the past and only once stalled (I’m a fast learner).

                      I’d be just as happy in a helicopter as I have travelled in one of these above Edinburgh years ago to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday, and also above Alpe d‘Huez during a skiing holiday (can’t afford trips like those now, of course).

                      I have three degrees in literature: B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. and very much enjoyed teaching students while studying for the latter. I wouldn’t need an apprenticeship though in that subject. I don’t need training as a secretary as I’ve done enough of that (tedious compared with flying a plane). I also trained in copy-editing, proofreading and book indexing and have been self-employed in the past.

                      But my memory isn’t so good nowadays and I have a bad back and hip due to my career with horses (I also trained as a British Horse Society Assistant Instructor). I don’t think I am any worse than many others of my age, so would be happy to make a start on the flying apprenticeship a.s.a.p.

                      Alternatively, you could allow me my pension.

                      I very much looking forward to receiving your reply, Susan


                      Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/im-63-un...d-waspi-women/


                      Which reminded me of this hilarious sketch:

                      Comment


                        Operman is doing joined up government. It's part of the plan to stuck older people on apprenticeships, to get the numbers up. When this big number gets read out, everybody gets a warm feeling and imagines young people learning old fashioned trades, and thinks we have an industrial strategy.

                        Comment


                          With Vickers it's the complete lack of joined up logic that really gets me. If I'm MP for Cleethorpes, I'm thinking "Fuck, get a deal on fish! Drop all the red lines you need to do that!"

                          He wants more red lines.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by E10 Rifle View Post
                            I know it's for an overseas audience but cliched nonsense like this irks me greatly:


                            It feeds into this dishonest narrative that Britain used to be the Honest Gentlemen Of The World that has only recently suddenly Gone A Bit Mad. Whereas we've been on this path for a long long time.
                            It vies — or perhaps these days melds with — the long-standing image of Britain as a quirky Ruritania, where everyone drinks warm beer and lives in a draughty castle

                            Comment


                              I’ve never seen warm beer ever. Maybe it was English only, or over at least 30 years ago. It’s like the bad teeth/bad food thing, ffs.
                              Course it works the converse too. All Americans are fat, folk will announce confidently, overlooking their own countries becoming the 1st/2nd most obese countries in Europe, and would probably take offence if a French person said the same about Britain/Ireland.

                              Comment


                                The warm beer thing is, of course, utter nonsense. It comes from the US. It's partly because most US beer has been, until recently, undrinkable unless served 1 degree above freezing, so Americans think all other beer is warm. They are also told British beer is served at room temperature, when in fact it's generally served at cellar temperature, and certainly not at the room temperature of a US house with its central heating blasting.

                                Comment


                                  Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
                                  Operman is doing joined up government. It's part of the plan to stuck older people on apprenticeships, to get the numbers up. When this big number gets read out, everybody gets a warm feeling and imagines young people learning old fashioned trades, and thinks we have an industrial strategy.
                                  OK, I get the general gist of providing opportunities for older people and all that but sticking people in their 60s on apprenticeship schemes, really? What strand of joined-up thinking does that correspond to in the neat gvt's joined-up thinking charts? (though I hasten to add that absolutely nothing surprises me anymore with this gvt, they truly are unbelievable).

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
                                    With Vickers it's the complete lack of joined up logic that really gets me. If I'm MP for Cleethorpes, I'm thinking "Fuck, get a deal on fish! Drop all the red lines you need to do that!"

                                    He wants more red lines.
                                    And more red herrings too I bet.

                                    Comment


                                      Originally posted by San Bernardhinault View Post
                                      The warm beer thing is, of course, utter nonsense. It comes from the US. It's partly because most US beer has been, until recently, undrinkable unless served 1 degree above freezing, so Americans think all other beer is warm. They are also told British beer is served at room temperature, when in fact it's generally served at cellar temperature, and certainly not at the room temperature of a US house with its central heating blasting.

                                      It’s from a line in Orwell though, isn’t it? Some England, My England guff about warm beer and cricket and plump cheeked maidens bicycling around the village green or somesuch shite, the great Anti Nationalist conjuring
                                      a fair misty bit of English Nationalism. Think Major recycled the imagery in his clusterfuck Back to Basics reboot speech.

                                      Comment


                                        You saw Owen Paterson's fruit picking pensioners idea before?

                                        I think he was only thinking in terms of Brexit labour shortages. Operman could tie it in with WASPI.

                                        Comment


                                          Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
                                          You saw Owen Paterson's fruit picking pensioners idea before?

                                          I think he was only thinking in terms of Brexit labour shortages. Operman could tie it in with WASPI.
                                          Ah OK, I'm with you now (never heard of Paterson's genious idea before), makes sense of course.

                                          Let's calmly recap because all this left field joined-up thinking business across departments isn't exactly easy to follow...

                                          So, according to Paterson and Oberman, on one side of a given standard field, we'd have the over-60s picking fruit & veg 8 hours a day getting up at the crack of dawn, as you do of course when you're 65, knackered, with dodgy knees and fake hips; in the middle of the same field, we'd have our EU national shirkers on special schemes thanks to the EU concessions flambloyantly negotiated by the dashing Liam "securing trade deals will be the easiest in human history" Fox; and on the other side of our typical post-Brexit field, we'd have of course Andrea Leadsom's energetic British youths who cannot wait to do the EU migrants' back-breaking jobs for a pittance.

                                          Makes perfect sense, you're right Tubby.

                                          Comment


                                            And as you said, on another side, some rustic version of Martin Vickers, demanding some special arrangement for UK farmers.

                                            I liked your point about these "special deal for the X industry" being another form of national exceptionalism. Hadn't thought of it like that.

                                            Comment


                                              Brexit incompatible with GFA, according to Irish Bar:

                                              https://www.thetimesbrief.co.uk/amp/...-irish-lawyers

                                              Comment


                                                I've just realised that in the space of a few posts, I’ve gone from "Guy Opperman" (the correct spelling) to Operman and finally Oberman in my last post.

                                                One more Bénédictine down my gullet and he’ll be Guy Doberman. Ergo, I must stop this degenerative cycle without further ado.

                                                Good night all.

                                                Comment


                                                  Originally posted by Diable Rouge View Post
                                                  Brexit incompatible with GFA, according to Irish Bar:

                                                  https://www.thetimesbrief.co.uk/amp/...-irish-lawyers
                                                  No shit. It’s like the fuckers barely even noticed they’ve got a Land Border with the EU till after the fucking vote. And the GFA is an International Treaty. Breaking the terms of that for the sake of appeasing Eyebrows Arlene or the Honour of Hard Brexit, brings Britain down to untrustworthy snakey failed state level.

                                                  Comment


                                                    That and not paying any exit bill will be the making of us.

                                                    Comment

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